A 10-man Real Salt Lake came back to score two goals in the final 11 minutes and snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw against the high-flying MetroStars before a raucous crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Independence Day.
Ante Razov and Mike Magee scored on either side of halftime to give the MetroStars a 2-0 lead, and in between Real defender Brian Dunseth was sent off. But Seth Trembly pulled a goal back for RSL in the 79th minute, then a last-minute penalty kick from Jason Kreis completed the comeback.
RSL came out and put the MetroStars under pressure from the start. They nearly got on the board in the fifth minute when Clint Mathis fed Chris Brown at the top of the 18-yard box. With the Metros defense closing in quickly Brown fed the ball through to Jamie Watson as he snuck in behind the defense, and he fired off a shot that Zach Wells dove on his feet to smother.
Several minutes later RSL once again looked as if they would take an early lead as Mathis hit Kreis on a perfectly timed run. Kreis found himself open 15 yards out behind the Metros defense, but he had trouble settling the ball, allowing Wells to get in place and make a beautiful save.
In the 15th minute RSL had a scare as Rusty Pierce pulled up lame in his first game back from a hamstring injury. Pierce had reaggravated the injury and was replaced on the field by Cameron Knowles.
Shortly after the Metros seemed to opened the scoring against the run of play off a corner. After a weak clearance by RSL, the ball was played back in to Sergio Galvan Rey who connected on a beautiful bicycle kick only to see the goal waved off for offside.
But after some even back-and-forth play, the linesman's flag didn't save Real from Galvan Rey in the 44th minute. He fired a rocket at D.J. Countess, and the RSL 'keeper got his hands up to make the save, but was unable to prevent a rebound. Razov found himself open in the box with the ball at his feet and easily buried his shot.
Just moments later RSL dug a deeper hole when Dunseth found himself on the receiving end of a red card after a foul on Eddie Gaven.
The MetroStars were able to carry the momentum after the halftime break and they added to their advantage just three minutes into the second half. Razov hit Mike Magee with a pass and he found the back of the net, his first goal since Sept. 11, 2004.
Down two goals and a man, Real kept the game even until the 79th minute when the ball deflected off a MetroStars defender and to the feet of Trembly, who had come on as a substitute just three minutes earlier. Just off the top corner of the penalty area, Trembly took a quick step in to the top corner and fired a bending shot through the MetroStars defense, off the fingertips of Wells and into the back of the net.
The Tremby goal fired up the Real offense. Over the final 10 minutes of play, RSL's attack seemed to overwhelm a winded MetroStars defense. As the final seconds ticked off the game clock a ball was lofted into a waiting Kreis, and as he went up to play the ball he was knocked to the ground by MetroStars defender Carlos Mendes and referee Kevin Terry gave the penalty kick.
Kreis lined up for his own spot kick with the game on the line, and after taking a moment to regain his wind, he buried the ball just inside the post to tie the game.
Real continued their offensive onslaught throughout four minutes of stoppage time in a solid effort to find a winner, but it wouldn't come.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake)
David Hale is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
MetroStars (5-4-6) vs. Real Salt Lake (3-9-4)
July 04, 2005 -- Rice-Eccles Stadium
MET -- Ante Razov 4 (unassisted) 44
MET -- Mike Magee 1 (Eddie Gaven 4, Ante Razov 2) 48
RSL -- Seth Trembly 2 (Leslie Fitzpatrick 1) 78
RSL -- Jason Kreis 6 (penalty kick) 90
MetroStars -- Zach Wells, Chris Leitch, Jeff Agoos, Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes, Michael Bradley, Mike Magee (Tim Regan 87), Eddie Gaven, Mark Lisi, Sergio Galvan Rey, Ante Razov.
Substitutes Not Used: Danilo da Silva, Tony Meola, Seth Stammler, Ryan Suarez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Ante Razov 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Sergio Galvan Rey 2, Ante Razov 2); FOULS: 16 (3 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 8 (Sergio Galvan Rey 3, Ante Razov 3); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Mike Magee 1); SAVES: 4 (Zach Wells 3)
Real Salt Lake -- D.J. Countess, Nelson Akwari, Brian Dunseth, Rusty Pierce (Cameron Knowles 14), Brian Kamler (Seth Trembly 76), Andy Williams, Kenny Cutler, Clint Mathis, Chris Brown (Leslie Fitzpatrick 46), Jason Kreis, Jamie Watson.
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Behncke, Nikolas Besagno, Jay Nolly, Leighton O'Brien, Dipsy Selolwane, Dante Washington.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Jason Kreis 3, Clint Mathis 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Jason Kreis 3); FOULS: 8 (Brian Dunseth 2, Andy Williams 2); OFFSIDES: 6 (Jamie Watson 3); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Andy Williams 5); SAVES: 4 (D.J. Countess 4)
RSL -- Brian Dunseth (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 45
RSL -- Clint Mathis (caution; Dissent) 65
MET -- Ante Razov (caution; Pushing, Holding) 69
MET -- Michael Bradley (caution; Pushing, Holding) 70
RSL -- Seth Trembly (caution; Pushing, Holding) 83
Referee: Kevin Terry
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; David Bragg
4th Official: Baldomero Toledo
Time of Game: 1:52
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.